Sunday, 3 May 2020

The male Reed Bunting was showing particularly well in the reed bed by the Diana memorial fountain, and I think this handsome bird deserves two photographs and a video of him singing.

You can also hear a Reed Warbler in the background.

The swimming area at the Lido is closed, which makes it an ideal place for Wagtails to hunt insects. Today there were two young Grey Wagtails and two adult Pied Wagtails.

A Song Thrush often perches in a holly tree near Peter Pan, but isn't often visible so I haven't yet got a video of him singing.

Greenfinches like to perch as high as possible, so you generally have to photograph them against the sky.

Long-Tailed Tits seem to like hawthorn trees particularly, probably because they harbour a lot of insects. This one is beside the Long Water.

The pair in the Rose Garden with a nest in a broom bush were hard at work bringing insects to their young.

I saw three of them here. Probably the pair who lost their nest have joined in to feed their little nephews and nieces, which is the amiable way of Long-Tailed Tits.

The Little Owl in the alder tree on Buck Hill had a little stretch.

The hole that used to belong to the pair near the Albert Memorial is definitely occupied by a pair of Stock Doves.

I haven't seen or heard the owls here for six weeks. There are lots of trees with holes in the area.

A Herring Gull stared down at the Coots building their ill sited nest at Peter Pan. The gulls will immediately take any chicks that hatch here, as has happened again and again in previous years.

The Coots with a single chick were in undisputed possession of the abandoned Mute Swans' nest on the little island in the Long Water.

Meanwhile the swans were building a new nest in a reed bed on the west side of the lake, near the fallen horse chestnut tree. This is not a bad place, and may be safe from foxes as the reeds stand out quite a way from the shore.

My guess is that the female swan started laying eggs before they had a nest, and they hastily made one on the island, having to build it up from the flooded surface. This took some time, and the swan only managed to lay her two last eggs in the nest. Two wasn't enough to keep her sitting, so they abandoned the nest. There's no reason why they can't start again from scratch. She's still quite young -- she's the male's second mate after the first was killed -- and should be strong and fertile.

The swans' nest east of the Lido is behind a temporary barrier that keeps people from annoying the sitting bird. Her mate constantly stands in front of it and threatens any passing dogs.

A pair of Greylag Geese were fussing around together on the Serpentine island, looking as if they were planning to nest.

The single Egyptian gosling on the Serpentine is now reasonably large. For the first time I'd rate its chances of survival as better than even.


  1. What a handsome bird, the Reed Bunting! Every conceivable number of pictures and videos is indeed warranted.

    Great news to see that the gosling now has a definite chance. Perhaps we can allow ourselves now to get our hopes up without fear of jinxing it.

    That protective cob is a marvel to behold. So brave and powerful, taking on anything that will threaten its family, howsoever big.

    I'm comforted to see the Long Tailed Tits devoting their precious energies to rear their nieces and nephews. Admirable creatures.

    1. It was surprising to see that Reed Bunting just perch there indifferently for several minutes while I was pointing things at it. Contrast Reed Warblers, which are off in a flash if you even glance at them.

      Hugh, who has been hit by many swans, told me that they pack quite a punch with their strong bony shoulders.

    2. I can imagine the battering that may have been sustained installing that temporary barrier.

      Those stock doves look so loving. Jim

    3. Those Stock Doves have been competing with the Little Owls for that hole for years. Sometimes they have won. But I wish I knew what has happened to the owls.

  2. I'm lucky to have Reed Buntings near me too- delightful birds & you have some fine shots. Endearing shot of the Stock Doves- under-rated birds in my opinion.

    1. While it's pleasing to see the Stock Doves being all lovey-dovey, it reminds one of what a hard time owls have, persecuted by everything that flies.

    2. Doves always win. Here they have managed to push Lesser Kestrels and even Jackdaws away from nesting holes.

    3. Like Coots, I suppose. Sheer blind persistence.

  3. I witnessed some very civic minded behaviour from a pair of coots yesterday afternoon on the Serpentine. A drake mallard was literally trying to drown another drake mallard by mounting him and forcing his head under water in a most violent and prolonged manner. It took a couple of passing coots to come by and peck at the aggressor forcing him to release his victim who was then able to escape. I was really quite impressed that by the actions of the coots who I always think of as hooligans but in this case showed that they could also stand up for the bullied and oppressed!